Sale of priest's house in Offaly paves way for new development

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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news@offalyexpress.ie

Sale of priest's house in Offaly paves way for new development

Sale of priest's house in Offaly paves way for new development

Offaly County Council has completed the purchase of the old priest's house and adjoining lands in Clara.

Welcoming the news, Barry Cowen TD, said: "Notwithstanding the huge national and indeed ongoing local effort to combat Covid-19, I want to report some uplifting news for the Clara community on a particularly sad day as it lays to rest two parishioners.

"The Meath diocese has accepted an offer from Offaly County Council to purchase its property incorporating the priest's house and lands of approx 25 acres. I want to thank local councillors Frank Moran and Ken Smollen who worked with me to convince Offaly County Council, Laois Offaly ETB and the Department of Education to work collaboratively in ensuring the property’s purchase. Thanks are also extended to local Parish priest Fr Joe Deegan who recognised the community value of such a purchase," he added.

Once the contracts of sale are signed, a masterplan will be produced, incorporating a new purpose-built facility for Ard Scoil Chiarain, off-road parking facilities for adjoining Scoil Phrionsias and Convent of Mercy primary schools, playing pitches, the provision of a town park to incorporate Chapel Hill, a social/affordable housing scheme and a new fire station.

"All in all this is a very significant investment in our community which has huge potential. Having received community endorsement in the recent election, I will now work with Frank, Ken and others to ensure the masterplan is part of our national recovery as we move beyond our present difficulties," Deputy Cowen said.

Cllr Frank Moran said: "I’m delighted to announce after months of negotiations that Offaly County Council have been successful in their bid to acquire the priest’s house in Clara. This investment will open up huge opportunities for the town and its environs."